The story of the widow’s mite described in Mark 12:41-44 and Luke 21:1-4 is a fascinating and intriguing one. Most of us have heard or read this story more times than we can remember, yet most of us have missed the essential point–selflessness.
The big question, however, is: “What moved Jesus to comment on the Widow’s Mite?” I am sure there were other poor widows in the Synagogue that day. Some may have even given less than two mites, so, Why did Jesus choose to comment on this widow? The answer is not as obvious as I thought. However, embedded in the story, one sees a poor widow displays an unusual and unique characteristic–others before self. In other words, she gave selflessly. It did not matter that the two mites were all she had to survive. She placed them in the offering plate without thinking about her needs. This to me was an extraordinary display of faith and a strong belief in God as her provider. Choosing others before self is not easy, but when we do Jesus takes note. After all, He chose others before self when He dies at Calvary.
Here is Mark’s version of the story: Jesus sat in the temple near the treasury and watched as people walked by and deposited their gifts for the temple. Some made a show of it, mainly because they wanted others to see how much they had given. Suddenly a poor woman who was a widow, came by and threw in two mites.
Now, back in those days, a mite was the least valuable coin used. Therefore, the widow’s gift was extremely small, amounting to nothing in the eyes of many. However, Jesus looked at her heart and saw what others did not see. Thus, He commented: “All the others contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on” (Mark 12:44). The widow did not draw attention to herself. Her gift was much too small for anyone to notice. Of course, except Jesus. She gave from the heart, and she was selfless in doing so.
God sees everything we do, and it does not matter how small it may seem. It may be nothing more than a smile, a handshake, a silent prayer, a comforting word, or an unnoticed act of love and kindness to someone who is going through tough times.
Jesus said: “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise, you have no reward from your Father in heaven. “Therefore”, when thou do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and the streets that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say, they have their reward. Hence when thou do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly” (Matthew 6:1-4).